Thursday, August 31, 2006

Legion team at Baltimore Con next weekend

From one of the Legion mailing lists:

From a LegionWorld post by Barry Kitson: "Just a little announcemnt in case you hadn't heard and might like to come along - Mark and I (and quite possibly our esteemed editor Mr.Wacker ) will be making an appearance at the Baltimore convention in September."

Barry will be set up with lots of original art available. And according to Barry, “I will be doing free sketches, & If there's time (and I'm suitably bribed) I may do a very few commissions. As I attend so few conventions I go mainly to enjoy myself and meet folks.”

Show hours are: Saturday 10-6 • Sunday 10-5. For more info on the Con check here. 1 day tickets are $15,& 2 day tickets are $25. Purchase your tickets here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Animated LSH news 55: two new names

Now that the production part of the animated Legion show is done, it's time for post-production. I'll admit to knowing very little about the whole production process, but once the animation is done, one thing that has to be done is someone has to edit the dialogue to fit the animation and the characters' mouths and movements. For the Legion show, that person is Mark Keefer.

I'm editing dialogue and ADR for "Legion".

I just started back last week, and haven't gotten acquainted with all of the characters in the show yet (I’m just now posting sound for the second episode), but I think the voices the producers chose for the show are all very strong.

If you're a classic "Legion" fan you'll probably like it. If you liked "Teen Titans" at all, you'll enjoy it even more.

Mark's got a good primer on what a sound designer and sound editor does. ADR is "automated dialogue replacement" which means he helps the voice actor re-record some lines to be added to the show after the original recording (for whatever reason).

Meanwhile, a new name (to me) showed up as having worked on the show, though he's finished for the season: Chad Townsend, who joined the team as a prop designer.
Recently I wrapped up my contract as a prop designer for Warner Brothers animation, on thier newest cartoon series Legion of Superheroes. It was easily one of the most rewarding jobs i’ve done. I had a blast working for those guys.

Unfortunately he can't give info about unaired episodes, but look for his first show on Oct. 7th (which would be "Legacy" according to the Wikipedia).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Comics fans are better than SF fans

Case in point: The Legion panel at Worldcon. I mentioned earlier this month that the Legion was getting a discussion panel at the big Science Fiction convention, Worldcon, in LA this week. From what I've seen and read, Worldcon is the SF equivalent of the San Diego Comic Con, except it rotates around different cities.

At San Diego, bloggers were out in force and within a couple of hours of a panel you could read about it as it was liveblogged, see photos taken at it, and then watch it on YouTube. See this post about San Diego day 2 for an example.

At Worldcon, well, nothing. All I could find of the Legion panel - which took place on Wednesday - was one passing mention.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Animated LSH news 54: Preview on KidsWB site

Comics2Film points out that the animated Legion show has a preview over at the KidsWB! web site, promoting their fall schedule. It's just a "rollover" type ad, though, telling us what each of their four new series is about, there's nothing to see beyond that.

JLA 1 - no Karate Kid

For whatever reason, Karate Kid (of the current Legion series) was on the promotional images of the cover to the new Justice League of America #1, out this week. In as much a surprise as it was to see him there in the first place, it's a case of "now you see him, now you don't" with him and several other characters. KK is not on the final cover, but neither are the leads still appearing in 52. See Blog@Newsarama for a comparison of the before and after pictures (as originally pointed out by The Fourth Rail's Don McPherson).

You can still see the old version of JLA #1 here on DC's website.

Update 8/29: The Legion of Doom has better pictures and more analysis of why the character changes were made. Nobody can figure out why Karate Kid was on there in the first place, though.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Animated: Lauren's Mini-Legion

Lauren Montgomery, one of the episode directors of the new series, has posted sketches of the animated Legionnaires on her blog.

Also included is a sketch in the similar style of Matter-Eater Lad in his animated Legion costume, pretty much confirming that he'll be in the series somewhere.

Update 8/24: Lauren added a sketch of Saturn Girl today.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Linkdump, August '06

Now's the time to post all of the one-off links I've been saving up for the last month or so. I wouldn't link 'em if I didn't like 'em.

  • Chris Sims at the The Invincible Super-Blog continues to find ways to crack me up. If he's not poking fun at miniature spies hidden in people's ankles...
    It's one of those things where you read it, read it again, and then have to go tell someone else about it before your head explodes, which is the sort of thing you're going to have to expect when you're reading a series predicated on a bunch of teenagers going back in time for the sole purpose of screwing with Superboy because they like him so much. And I feel it's only fair to warn you: it may very well blow your mind.

    ... or an entry that examines why the Legion was Not Exactly the Brightest Future Space Teens in the Universe:
    Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan bring us this bit of insight into the same thought process that picked Matter Eater Lad for membership over, say, Polar Boy. Or anyone else, for that matter.

    ... or taking a look at one of Brainiac 5's not-so-great moments, inventing Computo:
    A three-headed, four-armed, tentacle-waving bare-chested fin-legged buck-toothed monstrosity that still has to use a nuclear-powered handgun might just be the best diversionary tactic in the history of comics.

    ... then he's following it all up by an Associated Press... OF THE FUTURE article.

  • James Nicoll follows all that up with an insightful look at Brainy's membership:
    Given all the catastrophic [1], tragic [2] or disturbing things [3] B5 did over the years, the only reason I can think for the LSH to have kept him around was the fear that if they didn't have him convenient to keep an eye on, he'd do even worse things.

  • Allan Harvey of Gorilla Daze brings up a drawing done for a British Legion APA, APA-247, of what the Legion might have looked like as drawn by Jack Kirby.

  • Brian Cronin at CBR's Comics Should Be Good! takes a look back at one of the defining characters of DC's Silver Age, Jimmy Olsen, and his top 5 transformations. One of them is Elastic Lad, but all of them are mind-blowingly awesome in a Silver Age DC kinda way. And Mark Evanier shows where one of those classic covers really came from. Jimmy Olsen #72 shows four of those transformations in a story - "The World of Doomed Olsens!" - that features the Legion, while issue 102 - "World of 1000 Olsens!" shows many more. Ah, the good old days.

  • Macaroni Murder Lady at the heykidzcomix LJ site starts the post with this:
    Like me, I'm sure you've spent many a long, lonely night wondering about what it would be like to have sex with the Legion of Superheroes.

    Wonder no longer!

    With an intro like that, how can you not read? MML found the Interlac web site, which (among other things) has a 1976 interview with Jim Shooter and another from 2000 with Tom and Mary Bierbaum in which they write their perceptions of the various Legionnaires. Of course, that means speculating about their sex lives, which MML expanded upon.
    Saturn Girl: "She is a wild, wild woman in bed, who undoubtedly has occasionally accompanied Lightning Lad on his forays into Dream Girl's boudoir." Shrinking Violet: "She gets all her weird sex from Duplicate Boy and waiting and worrying just makes it sweeter." Sun Boy: "He doesn't have to screw Dream Girl, he undoubtedly gets enough action on his own."

    And that's just from Shooter!

  • Scipio at the Absorbascon uses Streaky as an example of how cats are evil. (I don't necessarily know if I'd call them evil, though, maybe just a bit misguided.)

  • This discussion on the Hero Games message board reimagines the Legion of Super-Pets:
    Sleeping world, the Dark Legion of Super-Pets doth come on fiery paws and hooves of destruction. The day of reckoning is upon thee. Doom trots and scampers across the horizon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Legion Toywatch: Prequel, part 7 (Heroclix, Pocket Heroes)

Presenting the final (for now) in a series looking back at two separate lines of Legion toys, in anticipation of the new animated series. This holiday season, I want a Legion cruiser, and a Legion Headquarters upside-down rocketship playset, and action figures, and bobbleheads, and comics, and an Omnicom, and a Flight Ring....

First up is the Pocket Super-Heroes, which came out in 2002-2003. They were an attempt to provide 3-inch characters similar to other popular ones by Kubrick and other similar lines. DC made two waves of the figures and then stopped. In Wave 1 (Dec. 2002), we got twin-packs of Lightning Lad & Mon-el and Saturn Girl & Cosmic Boy. Wave 2 (Dec. 2003) saw the release of the Phantom Girl & Ultra Boy set. Here's what the Pocket Heroes site on DC's main page looked like back then.

Front and back of the Pocket Super-Heroes

The second line has been continuing since 2003: HeroClix, by WizKids. For those who don't know, HeroClix is a sort of role-playing game but instead of keeping track of stats on paper, the stats are on a click wheel at the base of each figure. The characters have powers and team affiliations that vary with their experience levels: Rookie, Experience, and Veteran (R, E, and V), and you can do more stuff (or do it better) the higher up you are. And some of them even have "Unique" figures, even more powerful. Each experience level comes with its own color (yellow = Rookie, blue = Experienced, red = Veteran, silver = Unique, bronze = Special Edition, gold = Super Rare. Each figure has a dial that lists the attributes so you don't have to remember anything, and you rotate the dial to show hits, etc., Then there's something about teams working together give you extra powers or something. Here are the rules if you want to learn them. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I just collect them for the Legionnaires. Speaking of whom...

The various series of HeroClix have been released in waves: Legion-related figures have been seen in Cosmic Justice (2003), Unleashed (2004), Legacy (2005), Collateral Damage (2006), and Giants (2006). Over the years, we've seen Legionnaires and their villains in their pre-Zero Hour, post-Zero Hour, and post-Infinite Crisis incarnations. No matter which series, though, they nearly all share a Legion affiliation. Click on a figure to go to that character's HeroClix page.

Pre-Zero Hour:

Post-Zero Hour:

Post-Infinite Crisis:

As with the other action figures, you can take some of the line as unofficial or honorary Legionnaires, including Impulse, Superboy (Connor), Darkseid, Ra's al Ghul, Krypto, Jimmy Olsen, etc. (Supergirl is listed above because she's specifically mentioned as being a Legionnaire).

Legion #24 solicitation (spoilers)

Hot off the Previews wire this week: the solicitation for issue 24.


Written by Mark Waid
Art by Barry Kitson & Mick Gray
Cover by Kitson
The team struggles against a Legion of Super-Powered Villains that may be connected to the mysteries surrounding Supergirl. Plus, the return of a Legionnaire you never thought you'd see again. And just who is Tarik the Mute?
On sale November 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Yeehah! For those who don't know, you can find a bit more about Tarik at the Wikipedia....

And who's the Legionnaire we never thought we'd see again? Take a look at the image, you might just be able to make out some circular discs attaching his cape to his shoulders. Wonder what day he meets the Legion? "We met him on a Monday and our hearts stood still / Da doo ron ron ron da doo ron ron...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Legion Toywatch: Prequel, part 6 (pins and rings)

Legion merchandising, part 6 in a series... a look back in anticipation of merchandising the Legion animated show in the near future.

In the mid-90's, comics were at their speculative peak and dealers were ordering lots of stuff at huge numbers. Sometimes the companies would even offer retailers some bonues for every certain number of copies ordered (like 1 variant cover for each 25 regular, for example - a practice prevalent in the 90's speculation boom, which fell out of favor for a while but is back again today). When Legionnaires #1 came out, the deal was that for every 100 copies ordered by the shops, they would get a special cloisonne pin. I didn't find mine until a year later in San Diego, and I've only seen one since then. The black paint on gold metal does look kinda cool.

For a cheaper alternative, conventions had "pinbacks" by the bucketful at the DC booth. The difference is that a cloisonne pin has a pin you stick through perpendicularly with a back that attaches, while the pinback has a pin that slides through sideways. You can find the pinbacks cheap on ebay.

In 1997, DC Direct offered a Legion Flight Ring for sale. Here's the original soliciation from Previews:
Long desired by LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES fans, this 14K gold-plated ring is a replica of the flight rings that enable the greatest heroes of the 30th Century to take to the air. (Note: These rings will not enable the wearer to fly, as that technology is not yet available.) Available in sizes 6-13 (whole sizes only).

Here are scans of the box, along with the front and side of the ring.

Warning: This ring does not enable the wearer to fly!

Here's a shot of a guy properly attired as Booster Gold at the San Diego Con '06, complete with Legion Flight Ring - remember, that's how Booster could fly, he stole a Flight Ring from the Space Museum.

No more Legion figures from DC Direct (for now)

Sheesh. No sooner than I get done profiling all of the Legion figures put out by DC Direct -- complete with 27 8x10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back about each one -- then DC announces in some fan feedback that what we see is what we'll get.

Will there be no more Legion of Super-Heroes members as action figures? Cosmic Boy to Invisible Kid are already done, and then no more... ever? Thank you.
— Timo

Outside of Saturn Girl, you don't have any of the female members of the Legion of Super-Heroes action figures available (outside of Supergirl, who doesn't match up because she's part of the Superboy set). Don't leave us hanging; we want Dream Girl, Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel, Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lass/Light Lass, Princess Projectra, and even Lana Lang as Insect Girl. Come on – I've invested a lot of money in buying the available figures. Don't let this collection be incomplete!
— Dave Hutchinson

Timo and Dave:
The Legion figures did have a loyal – but unfortunately, small – collector base. The line didn't sell well enough for us to continue to the point where we could add other characters, including the girls. We may revisit them at some point but, for now, the line is on hold indefinitely.

As pointed out over in LegionWorld (where I got this tip), they cut back the line just before the cartoon series starts. Oh well, we'll be getting figures based on the Justice League Unlimited episode and/or the new series (from Mattel, as announced in San Diego last month and as far back as Wizard World LA last March) soon enough.

Animated LSH news 53: Shawn Harrison interview

Comics Continuum today presents an interview with Shawn "Timber Wolf" Harrison, conducted at last month's San Diego con.

The Continuum: Describe your take on your character.

Harrison: My character is Timber Wolf. And for those of you who don't know, I have a lot of wolf-like characteristics. My father experimented on me and sort of created this ultimate machine that I ended up being.

The Continuum: You have an episode basically devoted to you?

Harrison: It's all about the discovery of who I am and how I am introduced to the Legionnaires. And then I become part of the Legion.

The Continuum: What's your approach to his voice?

Harrison: Whenever, I do a character, I look at the graphics first and try to visualize what I think that person sounds like. And then I'll start to play with certain timbers and tones in my voice to try to effect the voice. With him, I knew I wanted to go with something very understated and very dark � and sort of mysterious.

You might recall Shawn's efforts earlier this year at auditioning. See also here (he got the job), the first big meeting with all the staff and voice talent, and the first recording session in Feburary.

Related links: Wikipedia pages for the Legion show, the list of episodes, Timber Wolf, and Shawn Harrison, plus Shawn's IMDB page, and the Legion's IMDB site.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Legion Toywatch: Prequel, part 5 (Slurpee cups)

I think this is my 250th entry. Happy quatermilleniblogipost!

Legion merchandising, a look back (part 5): Slurpee Cups!

Practically anyone who was born in the late 60's will remember going to their local 7-11 for a Slurpee in the early 70's as a kid. In 1974, they had the coolest thing - buy a Slurpee and get a free super-hero cup with it. Forget about those wimpy Marvel heroes, we wanted classic DC heroes like Superman, Batman, Ms. Shazam and Shazam Jr., Tarzan, Jonathan Kent, etc.

There were 60 different cups that summer... and that's a LOT of flavored crushed ice drinks. There were so many that they even issued a checklist so you could keep track and maybe even request those female character cups which were so popular among the under-10 crowd. Hidden among all the Jonathan Kents and Mr. Tawky Tawnys were a number of Legionnaire cups, drawn by Dave Cockrum (the same figures that are on the recent Archives covers, in fact... they came from his character studies and model sheets). The Legionnaires were Mon-el, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, and Saturn Girl, though you could stretch things and get the non-Legionnaire series Superboy and Supergirl, and even Reservists Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen. Here are a few:

Sidne Ward
has scans of the cups on her page (there's a block of text on the back of each up, that's printed out on the page) along with the checklist. The cups go for under about $5 each or so, but if you buy them, don't put them in the dishwasher or you'll lose the image. No clue about the checklist, I've never seen one for sale.

click to enlarge

Animated LSH news 52: Eric Canete interview

One of the Legion show's Background artists, Eric Canete, was interviewed today at WizardUniverse (though the actual interview took place in Chicago).

WIZARDUNIVERSE: With “Legion of Superheroes,” obviously you said you’ve been swamped doing this. What’s that experience been like? You said you’ve worked in animation before, but is this one of the bigger things you’ve done?

CANETE: Actually, I worked on other stuff for Warner Bros. Primarily I’ve been at Warner Bros. for two years now working on shows like “The Batman,” “Justice League Unlimited” and now “Legion.” It’s an old hat. You come from one show to another and it’s pretty much the same. The only thing with “Legion” that is high stress is that it’s basically replacing “Justice League Unlimited.” The expectations are extremely high. We fall under the whole “Justice League Unlimited” umbrella, so there’s that added pressure of making the show look as good if not better.

Secondly, it’s a brand new show. There’s always going to be growing pains. Stylistically it looks different than “Justice League Unlimited.” They have to get the style right when they start animating it. But we did see a couple of the episodes come back in its rough form. It looks amazing. It’s great.

Read more at the interview.

Snakes on a Legion Blog!

Since we're tied to the Legion here, it's tough to get into any of the internet memes. But I finally found one that is appropriate.

Presenting the Legion version of Snakes on a Plane, updated with a little 31st century technology...

Click to enlarge

I want these mothersprockin' snakes off the mothersprockin' cruiser!

Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Legion Toywatch: Prequel, part 4 (DC Direct figures)

Today's look back at Legion toys covers the DC Direct figures of the last few years. All of them are in their Silver Age costumes.

The first wave, from January 2001, consisted of the three founders: Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy. The cool thing about these guys was all the stuff that came with the figures: Lightning Lad had a detachable arm so you could show him off with his metal arm or normal arm; Cosmic Boy came with some small magnets in his hand and some steel ball bearings; and Saturn Girl came with some sort of plastic Saturn symbol. All three came with removable flight belts for the figures and a life-size replica of a Flight Ring for us (sadly, the Flight Rings did not actually allow the user to fly). The pacakging on this was unique to the line, in that it showed the other two figures and the Clubhouse in the background. These three figures are all sold out from DC Direct. (Note that the face scuplts in these promotional pictures aren't exactly what the final version is like.)

Here's a typical front and back for this first wave of figures. Click on the picture of the card back to enlarge it.

Brainiac 5 and Mon-el were the next figures in May 2002, but they were packaged boringly, with no extra stuff. At around the same time, a Mordru figure was released, as part of the Magic & Mystery line of figures (as opposed to the Legion line).

Here's a typical front and back for this wave of figures. The packaging moved to a generic blue with the Legion logo. The Mordru one is a little more unique in that it shows both Mon-el and Brainy on the back, whereas each of those figures backs' only showed the other. Click on the image of the card back to enlarge it.

In January 2003, the next wave of Legion figures showed up: Star Boy, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, and Chameleon Boy.

Here's a typical front and back for this wave of figures. For these, the packaging changed to a plastic resealable clamshell with stickers on the edges to ensure that it had never been opened. The packaging kept the same generic blue with the Legion logo, but was about an inch shorter because it didn't have the cardboard back. The back also notes that Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad had sold out, and advertises the PVC set too. Click on the image of the card back to enlarge it.

Ferro Lad and Timber Wolf appeared on shelves in Feb. 2004, followed in August by Invisible Kid and Colossal Boy.

Here's a typical back for this wave of figures. For whatever reason, this and subsequent waves of figures went back to the regular plastic blister on cardboard style, and the front of these is the same as the one above. The back is different, though, and varies slightly for the first two ("coming soon: Invisible Kid and Colossal Boy" vs "also available: Ferro Lad and Timber Wolf"). Click to enlarge.

In May 2005, the Composite Superman figure was released. That's an easy enough one to put on this list, he wouldn't have his powers if not for the Legion and (ironically) their statues. This figure, part of the First Appearances wave, also included a miniature reprint of the origin story.

That was the last of the Legion figures, but there are more that you could include depending on your level of anal-retentiveness. Clone Superboy (Connor Kent) and Impulse (Bart Allen) were honorary members, do you include all of their figures (each had figures from DC Direct and from Kenner)? How about Darkseid (multiple figures) and Ra's al Ghul? The Silver Age Superboy or Jimmy Olsen? The Silver Age, Crisis on Infinite Earths, or Superman/Batman versions of Supergirl? Heck, we even have figures for Krypto, Streaky, and Beppo so far.